Lumbar MRI scan

What is a Lumbar MRI Scan?

Lumbar MRI or magnetic resonance imaging is a type of imaging test used to diagnose problems with the lumbar spine. It helps to diagnose conditions that may be causing neck, back, leg, or arm pain. An MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the spine and other organs in the body.

Preparation for an MRI Scan

In order to prepare for an MRI, the patient may be asked to remove any metal items they are wearing, such as jewelry or eyeglasses. An intravenous (IV) catheter may be inserted to administer contrast dye, which may help to produce a more detailed image. Other preparation may involve avoiding certain medications and eating or drinking certain items prior to the exam.

Procedure of a Lumbar MRI Scan

During an MRI, the patient will be asked to lie on their back on a table that slides into the MRI machine. Once inside, they are exposed to a very powerful magnetic field. The magnetic field is used to align the protons in the body’s water molecules, producing a signal that can be detected by the scanner and used to generate a series of images. The patient may be asked to remain motionless during the scan, as even the slightest movement can blur the images.

Types of Lumbar MRI Scan

A lumbar MRI scan can be done with or without contrast dye. Contrast dye can help highlight certain structures in the body and make it easier to see certain tissues. It is used to help diagnose certain conditions, such as tumors. The most common type of lumbar MRI is a T1-weighted MR scan, which provides a high-resolution view of the lumbar spine.

Risks of a Lumbar MRI Scan

MRI scans are generally safe, however, there may be a few risks. The most common risk is an allergic reaction to the contrast dye. Alternatively, there is a risk of experiencing an increased temperature or heart rate, due to the strong magnets used in the scan. Additionally, MRI scans may take longer than other imaging tests, so it is important to be appropriately prepared for the exam.

When and Why Should a Lumbar MRI Scan Be Performed?

A lumbar MRI scan can be used to diagnose a number of conditions, such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, tumors, and infections. It can be also be used to view blood vessels, as well as to check the effectiveness of certain treatments, such as surgery. Your doctor may recommend a lumbar MRI scan if you are experiencing back pain that may be due to a spine-related condition.